Bulger hurt in Week 2 so team works around injury

ST. LOUIS -- Though he's playing with two broken ribs,
Marc Bulger has no problem with opening up the St. Louis Rams' dormant

The 0-3 Rams had a multitude of safe plays last week to limit
wear and tear on their quarterback, who was hurt in Week 2 when the
Panthers sacked him six times. The result: Bulger was sacked only
once, but the Rams couldn't score in a 24-3 loss to the Buccaneers.

Despite a wealth of talent on offense and a coach who rose from
the ranks as an offensive coordinator, the Rams have scored only
two touchdowns in three weeks. Coach Scott Linehan said last week
he was just trying to take care of Bulger, who signed a six-year,
$65 million contract extension in training camp.

"I don't know if my M.O. is to play it safe, I think it's to
play smart," Linehan said Wednesday. "There is a happy medium in
protecting your quarterback, running the football and being

"We certainly have not achieved that."

Bulger was diplomatic when assessing the game plan, saying he'll
leave that to the coaches.

"They study a lot of film and honestly, I just run what they
call," Bulger said. "We trust the plays that are called and why
they're calling them.

"We had opportunities, we just didn't get the ball in the end

Bulger threw his first three interceptions of the season against
the Buccaneers, but two were the result of miscommunication. Rookie
running back Brian Leonard didn't turn around fast enough on a hot
read with the Bucs blitzing, and Bulger and Drew Bennett weren't in
sync on an end zone pattern. Bulger thought it was supposed to be a
jump ball with the 6-foot-5 Bennett, while Bennett thought it was a
fade pattern.

"We were just on the wrong page," Bulger said of the Bennett
pass. "If I was aiming for the back cone where he was headed, the
ball wouldn't have been a line drive, and I know for a fact I
wouldn't miss by 5 yards."

In any case, Bulger said the ribs are not hindering his throws.
He's been helped by acupuncture treatment and painkilling

"Some guys, certain things don't work, and some guys, certain
things do work," Bulger said. "And I think I found a nice mixture
that works."

Linehan and offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who calls the
plays, know they need to find the right mix for the Rams to have a
chance at unbeaten Dallas.

"Anytime, obviously, when you're not scoring like you feel you
should be, you'll second-guess what you're doing," Olson said.
"You'll look at everything you're doing.

"We wanted to keep Marc clean and keep him healthy and limit
the shots he was taking, and your margin is small when you play it
that way."

The Rams have additional woes, now that feature back
Steven Jackson is out with a partially torn left groin. Jackson is likely
to miss at least a few games, leaving second-round pick Leonard as
the substitute starter.

The offensive line took another hit Sunday when guard
Mark Setterstrom was lost for the season with a knee injury. Tackle
Orlando Pace (shoulder) was lost in the opener and guard
Richie Incognito has yet to play after a preseason high-ankle sprain.

Incognito took some snaps Wednesday, but Linehan said he'd again
be questionable this week. Todd Steussie, the top backup at guard
and tackle, has a broken foot and won't be ready until the second
half of the season.

On top of that, Bennett, one of the team's top free-agent
pickups, is still not at full strength from a quad injury.

"I thought a lot on Monday and Tuesday, what can we do
better?" Bulger said. "We're losing these guys and we've lost
Steven now, but they're all excuses.

"All I can do as a player is control what I do. I can't worry
about who's playing, who's practicing, who's out."